By Lev Golinkin
A compelling tale of 2 intertwined trips: a Jewish refugee relations fleeing persecution and a tender guy looking to reclaim a shattered previous. within the twilight of the chilly struggle (the overdue 1980s), nine-year previous Lev Golinkin and his kinfolk pass the Soviet border with merely ten suitcases, $600, and the imprecise promise of aid looking forward to in Vienna. Years later, Lev, now an American grownup, units out to retrace his family's lengthy trek, find the strangers who fought for his freedom, and within the approach, achieve a destiny by means of knowing his past.
Lev Golinkin's memoir is the brilliant, darkly comedian, and poignant tale of a tender boy within the complicated and infrequently chilling ultimate decade of the Soviet Union. It's additionally the tale of Lev Golinkin, the yankee guy who ultimately confronts his buried prior via returning to Austria and japanese Europe to trace down the strangers who made his get away attainable . . . and say thanks. Written with biting, acerbic wit and emotional honesty within the vein of Gary Shteyngart, Jonathan Safran Foer, and David Bezmozgis, Golinkin's look for own id set opposed to the relentless currents of heritage is greater than a memoir—it's a portrait of a misplaced period. this can be a exciting story of get away and survival, a deeply own examine the lifetime of a Jewish baby stuck within the final gasp of the Soviet Union, and a provocative research into the ability of hatred and the quest for belonging. Lev Golinkin achieves an grand feat—and it marks the debut of a fiercely clever, defiant, and unforgettable new voice.
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Additional info for A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir
He mailed Franzen a nice letter about his first book, Franzen replied, they arranged a meet. And no David. This was right in the middle of the bleak period, when simple calendar stuff turned challenging. “He just flaked,” Jon recalled. “He didn’t show up. ” In 1995, banging together a big piece on the reasons for writing and reading, Franzen boarded a train for Connecticut and David. “We met in a parking lot and we hung out for about three hours, just sitting on the edge of the parking lot. ’” It’s nice to imagine them there, these two writers who would someday write famous books, talking for hours among the fast-asleep cars and concrete dividers.
The writer Elizabeth Wurtzel was at David’s KGB reading—a kind of Brezhnev-and-Pravda-themed bar in Lower Manhattan. She was standing right up front. ] I don’t know how Elizabeth—Liz got like the best seat in the house, using skills I think only Elizabeth has. Ah, she’s real nice. She’s a good egg. Good egg. When you’re eighteen, you realize that—there’s also a part of us that wants to be the president. And there’s also a part that wants to fuck every attractive person of the gender of our choice.
How do you learn to do this stuff? Because even I, I can clearly see there are certain strategies. Not really. My strategy here is getting facts about you. Your tour: two weeks? Three weeks? The funny thing is, of course, I saw on the schedule, “You will have this escort. ” And of course, when I hear escort, I think, I imagine like a geisha. Who will take you to the interview, then walk on your back and fuck your eyeballs out. And of course these escorts turn out to be burly Irishmen. You know, in their forties.
A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir by Lev Golinkin